Rajesh Agrawal is Labour party’s parliamentary pick for Leicester East

by IANS |

London, Nov 20 (IANS) Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Indian-origin Deputy Mayor for Business, has been selected as Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for Leicester East -- the city that witnessed fierce Hindu-Muslim clashes in 2022, following an India-Pakistan cricket match.


Agrawal was chosen at a hustings held in Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre on November 18 for Labour members in the constituency with one of the biggest South Asian populations in the UK.


"It’s time to use this auspicious moment to reset Leicester East, with a Labour MP who’ll deliver for everyone who lives here. Together, let’s get Britain’s future back," Agrawal wrote on X after his selection.


In his campaign statement, Agrawal stated that Leicester East needs an MP like him who is "passionately pro business and pro worker, ambitious to attract investment that transforms your prospects, bridging the regional cultural, economic and religious differences that can too easily divide us".


The fintech entrepreneur said that as London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, he has attracted hundreds of millions in international investment, created hundreds of thousands more jobs and gave over 255,000 people better employment conditions.


"I’ll bring similar successes to Leicester East and make sure it gets its fair share," he added.


As an MP for Leicester East, Agrawal said he would be focusing on affordable homes for all his constituents, encourage diverse communities to come together, protect jobs, promote fair pay and increase the standard of living for all.


Along with Agrawal, Labour had chosen Councillor Rishi Madlani, a sitting member of Camden Council, for the seat at that has been facing turbulence following conviction of sitting MP Claudia Webbe, who was expelled from the party in 2021.


Agrawal's selection comes amid reports that both Keith Vaz and Webbe -- former Labour MPs for Leicester East -- could stand as independent candidates at the next general election and hand the seat to the Conservatives.


According to the Guardian, Leicester’s Labour mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, said he expected both to stand against an official Labour candidate, which could split the vote.


Vaz, a British Indian who served as an MP for 32 years, retired from Parliament after being caught offering to get drugs for male prostitutes.


In August this year, the UK's main opposition suspended its Leicester East constituency Labour party after allegations of rule-breaking in the run-up to the next general election, the Guardian revealed.


The constituency has been subjected to an internal investigation by the party’s headquarters, following concerns over Labour’s performance in the city’s local elections in May, when it lost 22 council seats and the Conservatives gained 17, bucking the national trend, the Guardian reported.


In Leicester East, Labour's majority fell from 22,428 in 2017 to 6,019 in 2019, and in the run-up to the May election, Labour suspended 19 sitting councillors, many of whom were from the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

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